Artist Interview: Victoria Tan (Singapore)

Could you expand more on how temporality and impermanence inform your work?

Temporality and impermanence affect mostly the speed with which I work. Temporal spaces like construction sites move and change quickly, and if I don’t manage to capture them in their states at particular moments I lose my desired image completely, or have to wait and observe for a longer period of time. Capturing these temporal spaces in their ever-changing state makes these works the only forms of documentation of the sites left. The life cycle of a construction site is, in itself, also a reflection of impermanence and being.

What role does screenprinting play in your multidisciplinary practice?

Screenprinting for me is less about its ability to reproduce but more about uniformity – I employ a lot of photography in my practice, and screenprinting allows me to control the flatness or depth of the images that I want (or need). It is also currently the most viable technique that I have access to that doesn’t require a workshop.

Is there a particular reason why you chose to portray these construction sites in monochrome?

Construction sites are most often associated with being quite bright and loud. The locations of the construction sites constantly vary, and monochromaticity allows me to achieve a sort of quiet placelessness across all the images I use.

How would you describe the urban landscape in Singapore? Are there new observations or sentiments that have arisen since you first began this series?

I have found the urban landscape in Singapore to be quite chaotic, but sometimes chaos is great. Sometimes I feel like a stranger here – buildings seem to rise and fall at rapid rates to accommodate our growing population, and makeshift walkways constantly guide you around buildings. I’ve gotten used to it, of course, but I feel construction sites make up a large part of the urban landscape more so than the skyscrapers people have come to associate Singapore with.

Titles such as ‘From emptiness to everything’ and ‘leave me now, return tonight’ offer the works a certain poignance. How did you go about titling your series?

Many of the titles come from lyrics of songs I listen to – they always happen to aptly describe the imagery of the pieces I create, and serve as a personal reflection of what I was listening to at the time of creating these works.